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Old 03-04-2013, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,701 posts, read 79,356,279 times
Reputation: 39415

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We had a tire blow out on our 1998 Volvo V70 XC (AWD) (240K miles). Because it is AWD and the tires were at least 20% worn, we replaced all of the tires.

Five days or so later (today) I go to leave for work and one tire is completely flat one nearly flat and the other two are low. So I filled the front two and drove back to the tire store.

They claim aluminium wheels tend to corrode along the edge of the tire. When you replace the tire, you have to buff out the corrosion to get a good seal. They showed me where the buff marks were clearly visible around one rim. It looked to me like they used an awfully coarse wire brush for aluminum, but they claimed it is just normal. They said sometimes with old rims, when you remove the corrosion, the rim just will not ever seal again and need to be replaced. While sealer is available, it generally will not work on aluminum rims. They tried to convince me to buy new rims. I said no.

I am having a really hard time accepting their premise. Before they replaced the tires none of the four rims were leaking. After - all four are leaking. If it were one rim, or even two, I would probably buy their story that time, corrosion, or whatever, required replacement. However, having all four suddenly fail at once, simply does not seem plausible.

I do not know a lot about aluminum rims (other than the fact I do not like them). Frankly what I know about tires is only performance information. When I need new tires, I go to a tire store. I never do any of that myself and never have. However logic and plausibility ells me this seems wrong. Further, to me, looking at the rim and knowing it needs to seal against high pressure air, make me think maybe they used the wrong buffing brush (like maybe one made for steel wheels). However with so little actual knowledge, I am like a one legged man in a kicking contest. I want to find out how realistic their position is before I tell them it simply makes no sense and they need to fix it.

Is it normal to buff out aluminum rims with a stiff wire brush to remove corrosion?

It is normal to leave scratch marks all round the rim when doing so?

Is the idea that all four rims would suddenly be corroded to the point whether the buffing makes them unable to seal and the need replacement plausible?

If this does not sound right to you, where woudl I go to confirm there is a problem caused by them? Just another tire store? In my experience all tire store technicians appear about equally knowledgeable or lacking in knowledge (i.e. they have good basic knowledge, but just follow a proscribed pattern - not usually the figure it out types). Is there some type of shop that is likely to be more knowledgeable?

thanks
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Northern MN
3,869 posts, read 15,121,278 times
Reputation: 3614
mag and Al rims are porous but they wouldn't go flat that fast, it's a very slow leak.
But I don't think this is your proublem as you didn't experience this before the new tires were installed

Are the valves in the valve stem in tightly, if not they can leek.

With a air leak this big you should be able to spray some soapy water on them and watch for air bubbles.

My guess, the tire shop messed up someplace.
Tire busters are the lowest guy on the ladder and sometimes they are still in high school with no real automotive training.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:20 AM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
7,467 posts, read 13,462,540 times
Reputation: 11758
Having worked (now retired) at a Volvo dealers parts dept , we would some times order replacement rims for this problem, usually under warranty/extended service contract. The shop would try to buff/polish them, but sometimes would not fix issue. I would suggest calling a dealership, see if they can/would commit to a proper polishing, and/or contact an independent shop that specializes in rim repair / reconditioning.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:28 AM
 
Location: NY
9,131 posts, read 19,874,400 times
Reputation: 11706
I had owned cars with older rims which developed slow leaks due to corrosion. Never had them go flat overnight however. That seems like a lot of air leaking! Have you tried submerging one of the wheels yourself and seeing exactly where the leak is coming from?
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:36 AM
 
Location: U.S.A.
3,306 posts, read 12,152,761 times
Reputation: 2966
Pressurize the tire and then apply (non sudsy) soapy water all over the wheel. At the rate you described it going flat, the leak will be quite apparent. I wouldn't doubt careless work by the mechanic. Aluminum corrosion should be removed with scotch-brite or very fine grit sand paper and THEN get a light polishing.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:19 PM
 
33,387 posts, read 34,629,829 times
Reputation: 20027
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lux Hauler View Post
Pressurize the tire and then apply (non sudsy) soapy water all over the wheel. At the rate you described it going flat, the leak will be quite apparent. I wouldn't doubt careless work by the mechanic. Aluminum corrosion should be removed with scotch-brite or very fine grit sand paper and THEN get a light polishing.
^^this^^
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,701 posts, read 79,356,279 times
Reputation: 39415
When I took it in, they put it in a tank and found leaking along the rims. They said they were unsure whether they can stop the leaking unless we replace the rims. they tried and we will see what happens, but I am really trying to figure out whether they screwed up or not. If the leak continues I will have to figure out whether to eat the cost or make them pay for it. I also need to decide whether to continue to use them or not. Also if the leak continues I am wondering what type of place may be able to fix it short of replacing the rims.

Thanks
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Prosper
6,255 posts, read 16,979,535 times
Reputation: 9501
The tire shop messed up, plain and simple. While it's normal for rims to develop a slow leak due to corrosion, we're talking a leak of about 1 psi per week or longer. Losing all your air overnight is a sign they either installed the valve stems wrong, didn't get the tire beaded to the rim properly, or bent your wheels while mounting the tires.

Post a pic of these scratches. I've had aluminum wheels for years on almost all of my cars, I've never had any shop scratch up my rims, and if they did, they'd be buying me new ones or paying to refinish them.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,912 posts, read 24,534,437 times
Reputation: 5162
Sounds a little fishy, especially if they tried really hard to sell you new wheels (as opposed to "Well, you might have to get new wheels and we can get some for you.") I have a 2-year-newer car with 210k and aluminum wheels. No problems of that sort that I've ever been made aware of by tire installers, and I'm not having any leaks. It's not a Volvo so I suppose certain designs could be more prone to this. But even if they were trying to make it work the best they could it sounds like they were pretty sloppy.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:28 PM
lgt
 
469 posts, read 1,335,060 times
Reputation: 175
Did they try bead sealer yet?
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